Thursday, February 5, 2009
In an entry in the New York Times this week, design writer Allison Arieff wrote for the second time on the topic of “saving the suburbs.” The first entry raised questions of what to do with new McMansion developments that have no buyers in a world less exuberant over exurbs. My guess is that not too many of these developments will be empty five years from now; who knows, maybe some California developments will house refugees from earthquakes, as some overbuilt Houston housing did after Hurricane Katrina.
In this week’s entry, Arieff discusses desires to retrofit suburbia for greater density, using of course new-urbanist ideals. I would have liked more emphasis on the essential role for rezoning, without which much retrofitting can’t occur. (But then, I’m a lawyer, not a designer.) She included a rendering of the community of Mashpee Commons on Cape Cod. The drawing makes the place look much like an old town in France or Denmark –- tall, steep-roofed townhouses clustered around greens and narrow streets. My big question about the rendering is –- and one can compare it to some photos of the actual place –- Where are the cars?
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